WHAT A TOWN, what a country, what a weekend, what, me worry?

I do. I worry about every column, and the worries are many and diverse. I used to fret, down to the wire, “What am I going to write about this week?!” Lately the problem is, what will I hit and what will I have to leave out? Really good stuff gets left out! Trust me. Really, really good stuff, the best stuff, the biggest stuff. And nobody respects stuff more than I do, believe me.

I already had too much good stuff for this week and then I wake up Monday morning and see that the First Amendment is under attack by soccer parents, in Clover Park. Well, one soccer parent. Thanks, Obama. (There’s still a few months to blame him for everything.) But there’s another good story to tell, too.


The weekend starts Thursday night, right? Montana Library, North of Montana

neighborhood association (NOMA) meeting, the much-anticipated throwdown

between Armed and Dangerous Armen Melkonians (Residocracy) and Jugular Jabbing Jason Islas (Forward), over the Land Use Voter Empowerment (Measure LV) ballot initiative. The usual charges of lying and deceit flew around the room, but little did we know two actresses, of substantial means but less than stellar thespian credentials, were part of the plot.

Both Kristina Hahn and Ruth Hasell identified themselves as architects, and mothers of two, distraught about the evil effects of LV on their children’s futures. Concerned citizens, speaking out, like the others in the room.

Well, not quite.

Thanks to the sharp memory and good research of Dr. Anna Rogers, who was there, she claims that Hasell’s speech to the assembled, read from her cell phone, was almost identical to that delivered at the recent CLUE gathering by another distraught mother of two, hotel worker Jackie Martin. I was standing right next to Hahn, who seemed quite upset at the memory of the lost community benefits of the Hines Project. “Now you still have a huge development, but we lost out on a paaark!”

It was pointed out to her that there is quite a difference between the current adaptive reuse totaling 204,000 square feet, and the 766,000 square feet our City Council approved, but the voters rejected, by petition.


But it’s doubtful either of these women really wondered whether their children

wouldn’t be able to find a home in Santa Monica. Both are part of the large development firm of Shubin and Donaldson (but were in different parts of the room and gave no indication they knew each other), who still have, on their website, their proposed 1.34 million square foot Santa Monica Steps development, which would take over our Palisades Park from Arizona to California, then spill gloriously over the cliffs (stabilizing those cliffs, by golly) onto the beach with condos, restaurants, wide steps et al, addressing our nagging problem of a “devisive pedestrian condition existing between the western edge of Santa Monica and its ocean front periphery.“


City Councilmember Kevin McKeown pointed out that it was only a proposal, some years ago, and listed all the reasons it could never get built. “There is no such project, nor could there ever be,” he wrote. He also warned, “It would be a great disservice to our community if people pointed to this chimera as something to be worried about, justifying a vote for an unwise ballot measure.” Well, you probably know that I, and at least 10,000 other Santa Monica voters, disagree with that characterization of LV.


I’m not worried about it (too many other pressing worries), but we all know our City

Councils have been more than happy to bend the rules for huge developments they love (Hines Project, 12 stories at 4th/5th and Arizona, then there was that island in the bay, with bridges). Both those women work for Shubin and Doanldson, Hahn spends a lot of time on Nextdoor promoting her company’s projects and knocking LV, and now they’re dressing down (Hasell had a large home in Orange County remarkable enough to be featured in the LA Times in 2010) to attend meetings as distraught mothers fearful of LV.

I give credit to developer Scott Schonfeld: when asked directly, at that meeting, how much he had personally contributed to the No on LV campaign, he unflinchingly declared (though outnumbered, in enemy territory): “$49,000.” Respect, Scott.

Both spokesmen represented their sides well, I thought. A tie, perhaps, as a debate. Whose lawyers are you going to believe? But the bad actresses, and the outright bald-faced lying phone “surveys” and door-to-door pitchmen to me indicate a level of some desperation on the part of the No crowd. With over a million bucks to spend, I think they’re going a little crazy.


So, here we are, barely any space left to relate the facts of the incident in the park, let

alone any of my three classical concerts and one art show over the weekend, my

unmitigated glee at watching Republican heads explode on every channel Friday night after the Trump tape release (couldn’t happen to a more deserving party), and certainly no room to tell you the Daily Pint, our greatest local pub, on Pico, is having a whiskey tasting tonight, Bruichladdich Islay single malts. All in Santa Monica. But I’ll take that problem — would you rather live in Kansas?

What happened in Clover Park Sunday, in a nutshell, without all the delicious details, is that Councilmember Terry O’Day, a well-known staunch opponent of LV, tattled to the City Manager, on a beautiful Sunday morning, about whether or not the Yes on LV booth should be in Clover Park, at an AYSO event. He had his reasons, but I only just this minute heard back from him with his side of the story. And believe it or not, I do want to be fair.

This is about use and abuse of power, and stuff you shouldn’t mess with, like Freedom of Speech. I spoke with everyone involved but not O’Day. So next week: the rest of the story.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How many “affordable” and low-income housing units has the City built, where are they, and how many are occupied?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Citizens in a democracy need diverse sources of news and information.” — Bernie Sanders

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at